Press Is More Reluctant Than Ever To Tag Collapsing Venezuela 'Socialist'

February 9th, 2018 9:18 PM

As Venezuela plunges deeper into humanitarian crisis, the broadcast and cable networks barely recognize its existence, while the print press, which during relatively tolerable times routinely celebrated the country's socialist government, is more reluctant than ever to use the S-word.

Of six articles I found Friday afternoon about the horrid, deteriorating situation in that country, only one used the word — and that was only because it was about snap elections de facto dictator Nicolas Maduro has called for April.

It's now obvious that Maduro would rather see his country's people suffer and die than give up power. His government even denies the existence of a deadly infant malnutrition crisis which is killing newborns whose families can't even find or afford food.

These five press reports failed to mention Venezuela's socialism:

  • At Reuters Friday afternoon, where reporter Andrew Cawthorne described "a frightening surge in attacks on increasingly lawless roads," largely as a result of "growing hunger and desperation among the population of 30 million."
  • At UPI, Daniel J. Graeber reported Friday morning that "Oil production from Venezuela is at its lowest in decades" (down 20 percent from 2016, and "at its lowest point in more than 10 years"). Hugo Chavez, Maduro's predecessor, used the state-run oil company as his government's piggy bank when oil prices were high, neglecting business operations and infrastructure.
  • Inflation is now 4,000 percent annually, according to a Monday Wall Street Journal report. "(The) government so flummoxed on how to fix the distortions of its crumbling economy that it’s resorting to introducing what it says is a bitcoin-like cryptocurrency." Good luck with that. Venezuela's economic crisis is on track to worsen: "The International Monetary Fund estimates an economic contraction (in 2018) of 15%, which means that by the end of 2018 the economy will be half of what it was in 2013."
  • A Friday Journal item reports that declining oil production may help OPEC keep worldwide oil prices relatively high.
  • At the Associated Press, Christine Armario's Thursday afternoon dispatch on Colombia's difficulty handling Venezuelan migrants tells readers that "there are an estimated 600,000 Venezuelans currently in Colombia - double the number six months ago."

The only exception to the socialism blackout was a separate Thursday AP item on the elections, which tagged Maduro — not the government or its collapsing economy — as "socialist" in Paragraph 2. Later, reporter Scott Smith described the country as follows:

Once among Latin America's wealthiest countries, oil-rich Venezuela is in a deepening crisis marked by soaring inflation and food shortages.

But why? No one wants to tell us.

Does it matter that Venezuela is rarely labeled socialist (or, for that matter, communist)? Of course it does. If the press won't explain the underlying reason why conditions are so horrible, other nations are more likely to repeat its deadly mistakes.

Or is that the point, in the vain hope that someday, somewhere, a socialist government will finally work with "the right people" in charge?

Cross-posted at